hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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December 26, 2013

Good Samaritan alerts family to house fire

House, most possessions destroyed in blaze spread from burning car

HAVERHILL — Robyn Good said that if it wasn’t for a man driving by, she and her family might have been trapped inside their burning home.

Fire officials said it was a fast moving fire that began last Friday morning when a minivan in the family’s driveway somehow ignited and the flames quickly spread to the first-floor walls.

Deputy Fire chief Douglas Brown said the fire moved rapidly through the walls of the old “balloon” style of construction home at 23 Lancaster St. and within minutes it had reached the attic.

“When we arrived we knocked down the van fire then went to the first floor and put that out, then we went to the second floor and into the attic to try to open ceilings and walls to try to get at the fire, but it got a pretty good start,” Brown said.

Despite the best efforts of firefighters, the home was a total loss, Good said.

The family learned that the man who banged on their doors was Norfolk Street resident Bob Maglio, who was driving by at the time and noticed the mini-van in their driveway was on fire. Norfolk Street is just north of Lancaster Street, and is also off of Primrose Street.

Attempts to reach Maglio yesterday were unsuccessful.

“He told us that after he stopped his truck, he grabbed his fire extinguisher and started banging on our siding and doors,” Good said. “That must have been the loud banging that I heard.”

“We lost everything, including family photos we can’t replace,” Good said. “But thankfully we all got out and our two dogs are safe.”

Good said her family has lived in the home for over 40 years and that the fire destroyed all their possessions, including albums of family photographs that can’t be replaced and more than $500 in Christmas presents her mother and her son and his girlfriend had purchased this week.

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